Thursday, 27 April 2017

Roque- Day one

This past weekend I went to a village called Roque to help with a mobile medical clinic.  I want to take you with me to Roque so you can see how things are........this might take a few posts!

Our journey started years ago with Dr Gavin who first went to Roque in 2007, over the past 10 years we have sent 5 teams from Bethesda to Roque with the last one being over 2 years ago.  Pastor Christianne (the pastor of Roque) and Dr Rodney have both been praying for an opportunity to go to Roque as the people there are really in need of healthcare.

In January Dr Rodney visited a church in Ada, Oklahoma and suggested to them on their April mission trip we could take a team to Roque. The team agreed and provided the funds for all the medicine (which is one of the reasons we haven't been able to go) so Dr Rodney started planning.

The team started counting medicine on Thursday to get it packed and all ready to go.  We loaded up the truck at 5am on Friday and left Vaudrieul at 5.30am.  We drove for about 2 1/2 hours, mostly on pretty bumpy awful roads.

We arrived at a village called Marianne and there we got out and unloaded our supplies.  Some of the men from the village came down the mountain with their horses to transport our stuff and we started walking.  

Our first hurdle was the river, which is usually pretty shallow.  Not that day, it must have been raining before we came, the river was above our knees in parts and because it was flowing so fast we could not see where we were stepping! Thankfully no one fell in!!

The hike started off pretty easy but after crossing another river we started the steep ascent.  Thankfully it wasn't too hot!As we got closer to the top people kept stopping to take photo's but as we got higher and higher the view just got better and better.

Photobombed by a donkey!

 Once we finished the uphill part, it was about a 30 minute walk on the flat to the village.  As we walked along  the path we passed a few houses, most of which are made of mud and sticks. On the way up I said hi to someone and they responded ' Bonjou Julie!' I was so surprised as it's has been 7 years since I had been there.  

After 2 1/2 hours we arrived at the church in Roque.  The last time I was there the church was simply a tin roof with no walls. They had started to build with blocks but it was really just the very beginnings.  The school was also a tin roof with stick walls, now the whole building is built from blocks and has 6 separate classrooms and a dining room.  The church even has a solar panel which provides light for them in the evening and runs their sound system on Sunday mornings. 

We had a quick drink and a snack and got set up for the day.  We had 4 people consulting, Dr Rodney, Dr Phil, Ms Admatha (Dr Rodney's mum) and Dr Sincere, a doctor doing her social service year at BMC. Dr Rodney spoke to the patients before we started, greeted them and explained how the day was going to run.

 First was registration and dossier

then vital signs

then consultation

then prayer 

then medicine 

We finished up about 5.30pm and saw around 120 patients that Friday afternoon.  Out of all the patients we saw only a couple were not Christians.  It was a real testimony to Pastor Christianne who has worked hard to share and live the gospel with the people of Roque.  After we had a rest, changed our clothes, got showered ( from a bucket!) it was time for some dinner and a time of reflecting and sharing. 

Finally around 10pm we headed to bed.  Most of us where sleeping in the classrooms in the school. Many of the people in the local community had given up their beds for the weekend for us to sleep on. We were humbled and thankful for their generosity and it really was a privilege to be able to help them in a small way.

Saturday, 15 April 2017


On Friday we left home at 6.45am along with a group of  friends and headed out into the countryside to go to the waterfalls.  After about an hour and a half in the car the 'road' stopped and we couldn't drive any further so we started walking.

One of the things I really miss about home is going for walks, there are no public parks or forests to walk in here.  Anytime we are out walking anywhere it is perfectly normal and acceptable for people to stare and yell 'blanc' especially when we have our blond haired, blued eyed boys with us.  

Anyway we were walking out into the countryside, passing a couple of people along the way but generally there was no staring and no being shouted at.  We were just going for a nice family walk!!

After about an hour we arrived at a beautiful waterfall. The boys loved playing in the rocks and the water.  Bill and I climbed up the rocks to see the various waterfalls, I think there was a total of about 12. We were pretty wiped out when we got home!!

This morning Bill and I headed off for another walk, this time up a mountain!! A friend invited us to go and see his land where he is growing corn, sugar cane and peas.  I didn't quite realise it was so high up the mountain!

It was so interesting to see the little path he takes to go up everyday to work and to see how much land that he has and how much potential the land has.  

The views were amazing and we could even see the seminary from where we were. 

It was great to get out, away from work and explore a little. Afterwards part of me is frustrated with Haiti when we do these sorts of things.  There is just so much potential,  if only there was infrastructure (among other things)  Haiti could be an extremely popular tourist destination.  It has beaches, swimming pools, mountains, sunshine, waterfalls, beautiful countryside and rich culture.  I think a lot of people would love to come here if only they knew what Haiti had to offer.

Well, the infrastructure is not here (yet!) but now you know what Haiti has to offer, why not come and we will show you around......

Monday, 3 April 2017

What else happens at Bethesda Medical Center.....

There is so much that goes on at our clinic that I haven't shared yet and over the past couple of weeks we have had a few special events.  The beginning of the month was International Women's day and apparently Haiti takes that day very seriously.

The MSPP ( Public Health Minister in Haiti) had organised for a team to come to Bethesda to have a celebration.  The team came on a Wednesday and held a program for antenatal and post natal women.  They did education sessions on nutrition, child development, breastfeeding and vaccines.  They had special prizes for some of the women who participated and there was even a film crew there. 

Last week we had another celebration,  on Friday 24th March it was world TB day to raise awareness about TB.  The day before we got a phonecall from the MSPP asking Ms Prudence who runs our TB clinic to come to Port au Prince for a conference.  When Ms Prudence was there she received a certificate of honour and merit and was told Bethesda has the best TB clinic in the country!! This is a huge achievement.  The MSPP gave us a big TV to use at the clinic so our patients can be educated as they wait, they will also visit Bethesda later this month to give us a plaque for our achievements.  

I want to share with you one of our patients stories who is currently in our TB clinic 

'I used to work as a builder but then I got sick.  I kept getting sicker and sicker until I couldn't work anymore.  My wife and I went to lots of different hospitals and clinics and every time they gave me medicine, I took it and it didn't do anything for me, I just kept getting worse.  

Then we started going to witch doctors until we spent all our money and I was no better.  Finally a witch doctor told us 'Go to Bethesda in Vaudrieul, you will find help there'.  So one day my wife took me on a tap tap and we asked the driver to take us to Bethesda, we had never heard of it before and did not know where we were going.  By this stage I was so ill I couldn't walk or stand and we had to get someone to carry me into Bethesda. 

There we met Ms Prudence, we explained we had no money at all to pay for treatment, she spoke to the director and they treated me for free, I needed medicine and IV fluids.  They then found out I was suffering from TB and put me into the TB program.  As soon as I started the treatment I started to feel better and I have been coming every month since then.  I am almost finished my treatment and soon I will be free of TB.'

This young man and his wife are also thinking about becoming Christians.  Ms Prudence has shared the gospel with them and they know they need salvation but are not ready yet to make the decision.

This past week Ms Ketlye who looks after our ante natal clinic invited some of our expectant mothers to a group which she would like to run once a month.  The objective of the group is to provide information and for the mums to be a support for each other.  This month Ms Ketlye gave some information on the importance of breastfeeding and some of the women shared their experiences with their other children.  Thanks to the generosity of one of our visitors we were also able to give each women a small gift which will help them once their baby is born, 


 One of the things I was able to do on during my time at home in Northern Ireland during covid was some more training, specifically in paedi...